My Thoughts on Small Cars

Filling up your gas tank these days can be painful at the pump, but for those who own smaller vehicles…well, they don’t feel the sting quite as much. It’s true that smaller cars get better gas mileage, but the larger ones offer more comfort and comes with a few more perks; we are all aware of the potential dangers that exist every day when driving our vehicles on the highways, but I’ll pick one I feel safer in.

It’s apparent that automakers are either building bigger trucks or smaller cars, leaving out mid-size; sort of ironic in a way. While gas prices continue to soar, you may see a variety of smaller vehicles hitting our roads this summer, but beware…as highways become more congested, you may experience a flow of distracted drivers (cell phones in hand) or worse yet…someone with a short fuse causing road rage, accelerating at higher speeds and passing without regard to another; most of which will have a disastrous outcome.

Small cars like the Smart Fortwo car, Chevrolet Aveo and Kia Picanto (just to name a few), are fuel efficient and environmentalists love them; however the likelihood of walking away from an accident is next to none. Steel is being replaced with lighter metals (and less of it), including more plastics; making them more economical for its drivers, but decreasing protection. I’ve always felt that larger vehicles offer more protection; the more steel that surrounds me, the better off I am; granted there are airbags, but I’ve experienced impact where the airbag deployed and I was still injured. My crash was in a 1992 Chevrolet Barreta, one I would consider to be mid-size. The airbag blew a whole right through my denim jeans (knee). Impact happened as I was pulling out from a complete stop, making a right turn. I recall it as if it was yesterday, and I’m grateful I wasn’t in a smaller vehicle at the time. I have always owned larger cars, and being there are many inattentive drivers today, you couldn’t convince me to choose something smaller. Last year I saw a smart car where the top half was sheered right off by a truck; it was a horrific scene. I now call these tiny vehicles for two…a roller skate.

In a large car, you have plenty of legroom. In a small car, your legs are in a tiny area with the dash right in front of you… think of your legs if someone hits you head on…crushing into your torso (body). There’s no give, not to mention a minimal distance when impact pushes the front engine compartment right into you; chances of it being fatal or more likely. I recently watched somebody’s dash cam on YouTube of a lady being ejected out of her smart car at impact while driving on a smaller highway; it was awful to see. The size of a vehicle cannot deny the physics of impact and is a key element of safety. It is the accelerating force of impact (crushing) that determines the outcome of injuries, and studies show time and time again that those occupants in tiny cars suffer 12X more because of decreased overall protection. While I understand the theory of those that insist on purchasing a tiny economical car…I still can’t wrap my thoughts around how anyone could possibly feel safe enough to get behind the wheel of one…but then again, these are just my thoughts.

Make your week count.

Comments

  1. Greg Salter says:

    Hello Lisa,

    I read your story and respect your opinion and courage to exercise your creative mind. However being an individual that has owned 5 different smart cars and have had car accidents in two, I find your article to have a few overgeneralized points that appear to be quite one sided. I’d like to point out that the video you made mention of involving the female who unfortunately was involved in a car accident, did not expire, though she was severely injured. My largest issue is that it was not mentioned that she failed to utilize a seatbelt, which neither side can argue what the outcome would have been had she had it on, but it’s safe to assume that her ejection from the car was due to the neglect of securing her seatbelt. I would also like to point out that this occurred in a 450 model, in a different country. This particular body style ranges between a model year of 1998-2007. Smart cars were not introduced into America until 2008, with that came a complete revamp to meet American safety mandates. Safety has completely been improved since that model even with the introduction of an even safer remodel of the car in 2016 offering a wider body and an overall “Good” classification by the I.I.H.S. Which is the best possible rating. Also in this particular instance you spotlight the Smart Fortwo and hint it to be a safety concern with the likelihood of the engine compromising the occupant’s area during a frontal collision. That is impossible as these cars are rear engine, and designed so that in the event of a rear collision, the engine is forced to crumple down toward the ground. As far as the likelihood of surviving a battle with a truck, which I am assuming you mean an 18 wheeler or semi, I’d be curious to see any vehicle and occupants go up against such a machine and come out victorious. I totally understand the American way, in that anything small is considered unsafe compared to larger vehicles which have become the status quo, however, America’s obsession with SUVs and crossovers elevates the likelihood of a turnover due to the top heavy nature of these vehicles during an accident to which I have observed on several occasions. By no stretch of the imagination am I naive to think a small car is safer than a larger car, however I do not think the difference in safety is so heavily lopsided that it should instill fear upon the masses. I’d also like to point out that those utilizing motorcycles are always somehow excluded from the safety talk, and instead small cars are given a negative and often misconceived reputation, while two wheeled machines somehow get a pass. Again I admire anyone who exercises their creative mind and shares, but I do believe there were a few details missing. Nonetheless please continue to write and share your opinion. A little back and forth banter can be good for the mind lol. All the best!

  2. Lisa Krysiak says:

    Dear Greg,
    I appreciated your honesty in response to my article. I respect your opinion on the safety issues and use of vehicles; you’re right about the 2 wheeler (motorcycles) getting a pass, as I never gave it a thought. As far as SUVS are concerned…many are top heavy and rollovers happen everyday, somewhere. Negligence is common on the drivers behalf in many cases, but as a car enthusiast it is my own personal preference to own a larger vehicle; it does however, hurt at the pump. I’ve seen so many accidents with smaller cars that I actually fear getting in one…on today’s highways. I enjoyed reading your view, as it gave a different angle to the subject at hand. Thank you.

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